Molepolole Athletics Club will this year celebrate its 10-year anniversary next week at Molepolole Sports Complex. The anniversary will see new features introduced in track and field events in their annual athletics calendar.
Organisers say this year’s events are going to be thrillers as the club is expected to celebrate its decade of existence in style.
“The prize money has also been increased a bit. We promise a thriller of field and track events,” said the club chairman, Suriit Singh Gill.
He added that he runs the club from his own pocket as he struggles to get sponsorship and said if Good Samaritans do not help him with sponsorship, he is normally forced to dig deep from his pocket, even if it means him suffering financially.
Speaking to the Sunday Standard, the seemingly frustrated club chairman complained of not being able to attract sponsors despite his current state of unemployment. He said sometimes running this club gets him into financial crises. Gill said running the club costs him about P20 000 monthly.
On a positive note Gill said despite the hardships he encounters, he has managed to produce athletes who are competitive and even represent Botswana at major international events. He reminisced of how, as a coach at Kgari Sechele Senior Secondary School, he produced a quality athlete in Rampa Mosweu.
Mosweu, a 4 x 400 relay runner, went on to represent Botswana at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the USA. Mosweu also represented this country at the world championships in 1995 and 1998, said Gill.
The club chairman’s other products are Mable Letladitswe and Lekaka Leokeditswe , who both competed in the World Women 15km Race in Holland in 1991. Neelo Phutegelo, who participated at the World Cross Country in Egypt 1992 and South Africa in 1996, respectively, are the moments that make him proud as a coach.
Gill said unlike other clubs they develop the talent and nurture it from a very early age of primary school. His club has also produced prolific athletes like Kefilwe Galeitsewe and Neyoyame Tshotlegi, who represented this country in the 1st Africa Country in Cape Town in 2011. Galeitsewe went on to represent Botswana at the World Cross Country in Spain the same year.
Molepolole Athletics Club Public Relations Officer, Desmond Gobuiwang, echoed the same sentiments as Gill, saying getting sponsorship is a challenge. He did not disclose the amount that has been acquired for this year’s competitions. He said the amount is “too small to be disclosed’ and called on companies to help the club as he said it is for Batswana and for the best interest of this country.
“Despite all the odds, we have produced the best athletes and this shows our ten years is not a waste,” said Gobuiwang.
Categories of the day will be the Primary and Junior School. The veteran category of people between 40 to 49 years and masters category of those of 50 years and above will be represented. The club members will also compete at a category called Open men and open women. The best club or school will walk away with P500 while the runner up will pocket P300. The best athlete will take home P500 while second position will get P300. The third placed runner will get P100.
The registration fee for those interested in participating is P50.